"No man ever spoke like that before." —John 7:46<br> "The crowd was sharply divided over Him." —John 7:43
The temple guards "forgot" to arrest Jesus, so impressed were they by His words. However, the Pharisees were unimpressed; they said the guards and the crowds that listened to Jesus had been taken in (Jn 7:47ff).
This was not the first time Jesus received these contradictory reactions to His words. At His hometown of Nazareth, "they marveled at the appealing discourse which came from His lips" (Lk 4:22). Nevertheless, a few minutes later, "the whole audience in the synagogue was filled with indignation. They rose up and expelled Him from the town" (Lk 4:28-29).
Jesus "was teaching in the temple area from day to day. The chief priests and scribes meanwhile were looking for a way to destroy Him, as were the leaders of the people, but they had no idea how to achieve it, for indeed the entire populace was listening to Him and hanging on His words" (Lk 19:47-48). Jesus' words were so powerfully popular and convicting that He was protected for years from those who were antagonized by His words.
Jesus said: "I gave them Your word, and the world has hated them for it" (Jn 17:14). Jesus is "an obstacle and a stumbling stone. Those who stumble and fall are the disbelievers in God's word" (1 Pt 2:8). We will either hate Jesus, His word, and those who proclaim His word (see Jn 15:18, 20), or we will find His words to be the joy and the happiness of our hearts (Jer 15:16).
Let the Holy Spirit wield God's word (see Eph 6:17) to crucify your flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). Otherwise, you will continue to crucify Jesus (Heb 6:6). Submit to God's word with joy.
Prayer: Father, I accept Your grace to conform my life to Your word.
Promise: "A Shield before me is God, Who saves the upright of heart." —Ps 7:11
Praise: Jim left his Bible at work. He was so upset that he made the long drive back to work that night so he could have his Bible.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996